Mary Shelley movie trailer reveals real birth of Frankenstein

In the upcoming film, Elle Fanning plays Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author who brought the scientist and his classic monster to life.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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The woman behind Frankenstein knew some monstrous troubles of her own. A trailer for the upcoming movie Mary Shelley, starring Elle Fanning as author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, came out Friday, and it's full of the gothic-romantic elements Shelley fans will expect.

Shelley's story is well-known among literature lovers. Just a teen when she fell for married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (played by Douglas Booth), Shelley wrote the famed horror novel as a dare. 

The Shelleys were spending the wet summer of 1816 with poet Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge) in Switzerland when Byron proposed each guest try to write a ghost story. Mary Shelley's grim tale of a corpse brought back to life became the novel Frankenstein. (Frankenstein, of course, is the scientist's name, but it's forever associated with the movie monster.)

In the trailer, there are creepy hints at Shelley's reanimated monster, but much of the action surrounds Mary Shelley's romantic life and troubles, as well as the struggles of simply being an independent-minded woman in an era that's not ready for that.

The movie also stars Bel Powley, Ben Hardy, Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams, Stephen Dillane and Joanne Froggatt of Downton Abbey fame.

Mary Shelley is set to premiere in the US on May 25 and in the UK on July 6. No Australia release date has been given.

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